Issue Date: May 7, 2007
The article on geldanamycin and Hsp90 inhibitors for the treatment of cancer was interesting (C&EN, Feb. 26, page 15). The following events related to geldanamycin and its derivatives are important to note. Geldanamycin was isolated as an antibiotic in 1970 by C. DeBoer of Upjohn (J. Antibiot. 1970, 23, 442) and several industrial concerns, including Pfizer and Kaken Chemical Co., in Japan, which synthesized derivatives of geldanamycin as potential antitumor agents in the 1980s.
Since then, additional studies have been carried out by researchers at Cancer Research in the U.K. and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). These studies eventually led to the initial clinical evaluation of tanespimycin in 1999, which was sponsored by the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program of NCI. In October 2002, Kosan Biosciences obtained two cooperative research and development agreements and licensed both tanespimycin (formulation) and alvespimycin (composition) from NCI's Developmental Therapeutics Program. The success of the approach benefited greatly from public funding in the form of donations and tax receipts.
Paul S Liu
Chevy Chase, Md.
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